Nxesi gets Public Works house in order

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pretoria - Newly appointed Public Works Minister Thembelani "Thulas" Nxesi has announced measures to tighten the department's lease procurement procedures, including centralising the approval of contracts to the office of the Director-General.

Lease procurement has been dogging the department and has been surrounded by much public outcry, and Nxesi is wasting no time in getting things in order during his term.

Briefing his senior management staff on Tuesday, the minister voiced his concerns about how lease contract management was potentially liable to controversy.

Nxesi has with immediate effect instructed acting Director-General Mandla Mabuza to withdraw all procurement delegations in the department with regard to the signing and approval of all leases, as well as the procurement of certain items.

The withdrawal of delegations effectively means that all regional offices are now only allowed to conclude leases that relate to annual contracts for residential accommodation.

An Operational Task Team, made up of property management experts, will in the interim advise both the department and the minister regarding lease requests.

This will also help to ensure that there were no backlogs and that the service delivery routine of the department was not compromised.

Centralising the approval function to the office of the director-general signals the first step in the turnaround strategy to manage leases for both office and residential accommodation by the department.

All contracts relating to office accommodation and commercial leases will be initiated and concluded at head office by the office of the director-general.

Residential leases relating to executives such as political leaders, commissioners and chief justices will be initiated and approved at head office level.

The current arrangement means that all procurement for leases will be adjudicated by the Special Bid Adjudication Committee at head office.

The director-general is the only person delegated to give final approval for a contract to be processed.

Procurement for all acquisitions of moveable assets on behalf of the Executive must be similarly approved before being processed.

The new processes and systems will come into effect immediately.